Last weekend I asked Mirinda what kind of cake she’d like for her birthday. After a bit of umming and ahhing, I handed her a cake cookbook and asked her to choose one. She was rather taken with a Marmalade Cake. I made it today after returning from Talking Newspaper.
While fun, my Talking Newspaper session wasn’t a classic. I put it down to being tired and having a mediocre team. That sounds a bit harsh, especially after one of them (Judy) said how much she enjoyed recording with me. And Brian is a jolly chap. Alistair (my third reader) always seems to be pre-occupied with anything other than everything around him.
I had a new engineer (for me) today. A nice enough fellow called Paul who was suffering with a bit of a headache. Apparently he suffers from them a lot. Brian asked him if it was migraine (I think he was going to commiserate with him) but Paul insisted they were just tension headaches. Which killed that particular conversation.
One highlight of the session was a story I read about the Hogs Back Brewery winning an award. I introduced the story by saying that I loved their flagship beer, not just for the taste but also the name. I could go to the pub, drink myself silly and, after staggering home, could honestly tell my wife it was okay because I’d just been drinking TEA.
Clearly knowing what I was talking about, both Brian and Paul burst out laughing while Judy sat silent and querulous. Alistair was engaged in some very important doodling so I have no idea if he even heard me. It was gratifying knowing I’d amused two of them at least.
I have no problem with the listeners understanding because in the story it explains that the flagship ale is called Traditional English Ale or TEA for short. I can’t take credit for this joke. Nicktor told me first, way back when I first tried it.
Of course, we have an election coming up so a lot of the news stories were about various political footballs being booted back and forth between the many combatants. Interestingly, I watched the first hour of the second debate tonight. Not being a big fan of party politics means it’s a bit meaningless but it’s nice to hear what they think the voters want to hear.
The trouble is, the parties make some great points but then stuff it up on one, major thing (for me, anyway). Take the Greens. I’m up for most of their policies but then come up against their stance on nuclear power which they’d like to get rid of. And, of course, their intention to raise the higher tax rate to 60p in the pound. Why on earth would anyone vote for that? Oh, apart from those that don’t earn much and want to bleed those that do. Turned around, this means that you work for a wage that gives you only 40p in each pound.
Then, of course, there’s the stupid UKIP policy of getting out of the EU. This would be one of the worst political decisions ever made. Okay, there’s a lot of things that need to change with regards to the EU but leaving is really not one of them.
The biggest problem of all was the Trident issue. Apparently, the big parties believe we need £100 billion in order to protect us from outside threats. But not in conventional weapons or manpower. No, it would be spent on four nuclear submarines complete with nuclear warheads.
Seriously? That will protect us? Who is going to use one? Is that truly an option? And who wants to live in a world where the government is willing to contaminate huge swathes of the planet for a very long time in order to ‘protect’ us?
Anyway, enough politics…the session went off without a hitch and I handed over to David, the next presenter. David had asked me if he could have my sports report because he couldn’t find anything ‘interesting’ for his edition so, before heading for the shops, I handed him my scrawled report wishing him luck in the deciphering. I’ll have to have a listen to his recording and see if he used it. Or could even understand it.
So, back at home, and after being attacked by the puppies, I set about making the Marmalade Cake.
It’s an odd cake. Rather than granulated sugar, it uses golden syrup and has great globs of marmalade mixed through it. Most unusual is the top. After smoothing out the cake batter in the cake tin, there’s a topping of cornflakes, marmalade and golden syrup to be spread across it. This gives it a crunchy top.
The cooking time is only an hour but I found it actually needed half an hour more. I should have put the foil sheet across the top sooner than I did because the top set like caramelised concrete – not so much crunchy as tooth destroying.
Mind you, the house was full of lovely baking smells for the rest of the day.
When Mirinda arrived home and we’d had dinner, I placed a couple of candles on top for her to blow out then proceeded to cut the cake without the aid of a chainsaw.
While the top was a solid mass of sweetness, the cake itself was perfectly light and delicious. Phew.
I realise that Mirinda’s birthday is actually a couple of days away but we’re off to a secret location tomorrow and I wouldn’t have had enough time before we left.